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17th Century Tokens : Falmouth in Cornwall

W Numbers refer to Williamson's  Trade Tokens Issued in the Seventeenth Century in England, Wales and Ireland, (1891)

See also other Counties issuing 17th Century Tokens

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Falmouth

A good deal of confusion in assigning the Falmouth tokens has arisen from the fact that the original name of Falmouth town was Smithwick, or Smithicke (there are several variations of spelling), and that it was not called Falmouth definitely until its incorporation by Royal Charter, in 1661, though the name Falmouth occurs much earlier for the locality. Overlooking this has caused unquestionable Cornish tokens to be assigned to Smethwick, in Staffordshire. The old name was evidently current in the locality some time after it had been officially changed.
W5: Cornwall, Falmouth (Farthing): (1668)
O  A fesse between two chevrons ermine
THOMAS HOLDEN
R  T A H
OF FALMOVTH 1668 T A H
Image not available
There is said to be a variety without the date, but its existence is doubtful. The date has been given also as 1658. The arms are those of the Holden family. The issuer was one of the first burgesses nominated by Charles II in his charter.
W6: Cornwall, Falmouth (Farthing): (1655)
O  Three boars' heads
RICHARD LOBB
R  Three trefoils
OF FALMOVTH 1655
Image not available
The arms (if the device is heraldic) do not appear to be those of the issuer. Richard Lobb was High Sheriff of Cornwall in 1652, and M.P. for St. Michaels, in the same county, in 1659. It is probable that he was the issuer, for a connection with Falmouth seems indicated by the fact of his being in correspondence with Edward Winslow, of Falmouth, New England, in 1651.
W7: Cornwall, Falmouth (Farthing): (Date Unknown)
O  Three cats in a shield
NICHOLAS KEATE
R  N K
OF SMITHICKE N K
Image not available
The arms are the canting coat of Keate, of Bosworgey, St. Columb, where the issuer was baptized in 1628. A relative, John Kete, was a grocer in Covent Garden. Nicholas Keate was a merchant, and, like Holden, was one of the first burgesses nominate of Falmouth.
W8: Cornwall, Falmouth (Farthing): (1664)
O  A chevron between three Cornish choughs
BENIAMIN PENDER
R  B A P
OF FALMOVTH 1664 B A P
Image not available
W9: Cornwall, Falmouth (Farthing): (1665)
O  The Mercers' Arms
BENIAMIN PYNDER
R  B P
IN SMYTHICK 1665 B P
Image not available
The last token was assigned by Mr. Boyne to Smethwick, Stafford, but both it and its predecessor undoubtedly belong to Cornwall. The Pender family are still settled in the vicinity of Falmouth, at Budock Vean, in Constantine. Benjamine Pender's wife was named Anne, and died in 1665. A later Benjamin Pender, who died in 1812, was agent for the Government packets at Falmouth. The arms on No. 8 are not those borne by the Pender family, but those of Code, Cowling, Tregoss, and other Cornish families, differenced by the tincture.
W10: Cornwall, Falmouth (Farthing): (1666)
O  Seven Stars
HENRY PENIELL AT YE
R  H M P
IN FALMOVTH 1666 H M P
Image not available
There is still a Seven Stars at Falmouth, and the sign, of course referring to the Pleiades, is not uncommon throughout the West of England.
W11: Cornwall, Falmouth (Farthing): (Date Unknown)
O  Three escallops
MICHAELL RVSSELL
R  M A R
IN SMITHICKE M A R
Image not available
Unquestionably a Falmouth token. Michael Russell was one of the first aldermen named in the charter of Charles II. It is said that he was a French refugee; and he was living at Bideford, in his 86th year, in 1705. Michael Russell, a physician, was Mayor of Truro in 1736. The arms assigned to Russell, of Falmouth, are a chevron between three escallops; and the latter charge forms part of the coat of the Russells, Dukes of Bedford.

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